Blue Lake near Washington Pass is Amazing!
The drive up Highway 20 is pretty long to just go on a hike, but this hike is worth it! It's short distance makes it an easy add onto a long drive or on the way to a destination like Winthrop. Kids will appreciate the low elevation gain as I myself did also.
My oldest daughter is in school, so I packed up my youngest daughter, Reggie, and headed up to Blue Lake. The parking lot is easy to find off of Highway 20 just west of Washington Pass and not too far east from Rainy Pass. There is a nicely kept restroom that we used.
The trail has six or seven boardwalks of various sizes just after leaving the parking lot. It kept us fairly close to the road until a switchback at about a quarter of a mile, where the trail starts a very easy climb. Reggie fell asleep just as I started climbing and she missed all of the peek-a-boo views of the ridges above.
There is a small clearing at about a half mile from the trailhead where I could see all of the hills above and across from our climb. This was also my first view of the freshly turning Larch trees! They are so beautiful and I took too many pictures of them.
As we climbed through the trees a bit more, Reggie awoke to announce that she is strong. I imagine her dream was that I was on her back asleep as she hauled me up the hill. Soon the trail leveled out and the bigger trees dissipated.
I was surprised at how long the trail seemed to stay more or less level. Just before a small climb to the lake, there was a sign about camping rules. I knew we must be close, but I thought it would have taken longer...
The lake was absolutely perfect! We were greeted by a group of conservationists that had been planting and roping off sections of the beaten terrain. They pointed us in the counter clockwise direction and we found a great spot to eat our lunch.
We skipped a more popular rock that everyone seemed to flock to and settled for a smaller, flatter sittin' rock just above it. The trail loops all the way around the lake and that explained the milage mishap that I had. My guess is the trails milage total includes the loop.
We were short on time and headed down. I can't wait to go back, especially with my oldest daughter! This is by far my favorite lake hike.